October 16, 2017
The Tale of Two Campuses: Harvard and MIT

The Tale of Two Campuses: Harvard and MIT

October 16, 2017

The smartest guy I know would have to be my brother. He is currently in Boston getting his master's in Naval Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at MIT. When Aiden has trouble with his junior high math homework, I tell him to FaceTime his uncle (7th grade math is already over my head).

Every time I visit my brother, we of course walk around MIT but we also make a trip up Massachusetts Avenue to Harvard University. It's fun to see the dramatic differences between the two campuses. One school is known for its mathematics and technology and the other for its liberal arts. One campus has classic architecture surrounded by lush greenery while the other features unique buildings by architects like Frank Gehry. They have their differences but also their similarities.

Harvard University was established in 1636 and consists of the Harvard Yard, where the majority of the freshmen dorms are located, and the outlining buildings surrounding the Yard around Cambridge and even across the Charles River. Sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates live in 12 residential Houses (think Harry Potter) like Mather House (Conan O'Brien), Dunster House (Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones), and Kirkland House (Mark Zuckerberg).

Harvard's campus is beautiful with its red brick buildings and green quads, the quintessential East Coast college. In my opinion, Harvard is one of the most beautiful campuses in America. It's the oldest college in the States which makes it an oldie but a goodie.           


Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded in 1861 and stretches along the north side of the Charles River. Its 168 acre campus is divided in half by Massachusetts Avenue with the Harvard Bridge being the closest bridge to the university. If you cross the Harvard Bridge between Cambridge and Back Bay, you will notice a unit of measurement called "smoot" drawn along the bridge. It was part of a MIT fraternity prank in 1958 where Oliver R. Smoot laid down repeatedly on the bridge so his fraternity brothers could use his height to measure the length of the bridge (having walked across that bridge in the summer, I can tell you it's pretty long). The bridge is 364.4 smoots, plus or minus one ear... roughly 2,035 feet across. Got to love smart people "pranks"!

The most famous part of MIT would have to be its Great Dome. You can see it in movies like 21 and Good Will Hunting but almost all interior shots of MIT in movies were filmed elsewhere due to MIT's strict stand about filming on campus. Don't worry though, you can get a sneak peek inside their classrooms below and let's just say, Aiden was a fan of all the chalkboards. There are even chalkboards inside one of their men's bathrooms above the urinals. Hey, an idea could pop up at any moment.  

One of my favorite parts about MIT is the school's mascot, Tim the beaver. Why Tim, you ask? Well since I own many MIT shirts, hats and hoodies now, I can tell you it makes perfect sense. Every time I wear anything MIT and stand in front of the mirror... it reads "TIM". Genius. And of course, beavers are nature's engineers.   

While both schools are prestigious and world famous and known for their excellence in different fields, my heart is with MIT. Go Beavers!   


Don't forget to follow along on social media!
Bloglovin' | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

I am linking up with these link ups and blog hops!
October 5, 2017
Oysters and Tide Pools: Exploring Cape Cod

Oysters and Tide Pools: Exploring Cape Cod

October 5, 2017

What do you think about when you think about Cape Cod? Whatever you're thinking, it's probably true. Cape Cod is exactly how I imagine it to be. Cedar shingle houses overlooking beaches filled with tide pools and wispy grass. Boats beached during low tide while kids run around looking for hermit crabs. It was all of that and more.

Cape Cod is split up into four different territories, Upper Cape, Mid-Cape, Lower Cape, and Outer Cape, and between these four territories, there are 15 towns and many villages. For our trip to the Cape in August, we decided to stay in Wellfleet located on the Outer Cape. It is a much farther drive out to the Outer Cape but just to see the Cape Cod National Seashore alone is worth it. Wellfleet is a small New England coastal town with a population of only 2,750 but during the summer months, it can get up to six times that. To be honest, I only heard about Wellfleet the year prior when I went to visit my brother for the first time in Boston and we ordered oysters at Neptune Oyster. They had oysters from all over the Cape but for some reason, Wellfleet stuck out to me. If you are ever in Boston and love seafood, definitely stop by Neptune located in the North End. I was lucky enough to eat there my first time in Boston but unfortunately there was a four hour wait this last time. Yes, 4 hours! You put your phone number down and they call you when you're table is ready (they called my brother at 9:30 that evening).

After our afternoon hanging out on the beach, I wanted to get some fresh Wellfleet oysters. I checked out Yelp and got some recommendations from Instagram and decided on Mac's on the Pier. It's located right on the water with plenty of outdoor seating and views all around. We ordered some freshly shucked oysters, fried oysters (cause you can't have enough oysters) and some fried clam strips. Fresh doesn't even begin to describe the food there. Everything was amazing and Lyndon even found a pearl in one of the fried oysters! I mean it was tiny, but still.        


After dinner, we walked over to nearby Mayo Beach to go looking for sea life. Mayo Beach sits on the bay side of Cape Cod so the water is a lot calmer and a lot warmer. On average, the bay side is about 10 degrees warmer than the Atlantic Ocean side. It was low tide while we were there so we were in luck with plenty of tide pools to check out. If you look closely in the photographs below, you can see tiny black dots laying in the sand, tons of them... they are all snails! So many snails! We did eventually find some tiny hermit crabs, crabs and some kids found a huge clam. While at the Cape Cod National Seashore earlier in the day, Lyndon went looking for hermit crabs and came up empty handed. Actually, we didn't see anything on the Atlantic Ocean side besides seals. So if you're into looking for sea creatures, the bay side might be the better side for you especially if you have small children.

We could see the water slowly creeping back up and low tide was slowly turning into high tide. We spent a good amount of time enjoying the beach and decided to call it a night. Plus Lyndon is a sandfly magnet and was getting bitten up (definitely bring bug spray). I've never been to a beach where low tide and high tide were so extreme, it was so cool see. And the fact that we were out during golden hour just made the evening even more special. It seriously felt like a Nicholas Spark movie.

If you're heading to Boston for a business trip or to visit family, try to add an extra day or two and head out to the Cape. You don't have to visit Wellfleet but head out to at least one of the 15 Cape Cod towns. I've been to Hyannis Port and now Wellfleet and both are beautiful in their own way. And definitely order some oysters and New England clam chowder, you can't go wrong with either and the oysters alone is worth the trip.


Don't forget to follow along on social media!
Bloglovin' | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

I am linking up with these link ups and blog hops!
September 27, 2017
The Natural Beauty of the Cape Cod National Seashore

The Natural Beauty of the Cape Cod National Seashore

September 27, 2017

East Coast beaches are something special. The wispy grass, the long piers, and sky high sand dunes are just a few things that makes these beaches unique. While visiting my brother in Boston at the end of the summer, I made sure we had enough time to hit up Cape Cod once again. The last time I was in Boston, we visited Hyannis Port but it was only for the day and since it was in the winter, we were working with limited sunlight. This time, we booked a hotel in Wellfleet to ensure we could spend two days exploring the Cape.

Why Wellfleet? Wellfleet is located halfway between the "tip" and "elbow" of Cape Cod and nearly half of Wellfleet is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, the main reason for our trip out to the Cape. The Cape Cod National Seashore was established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, which shouldn't be a surprise since his family has a compound in Hyannis Port and are Cape Cod regulars. The National Park Service manages the Cape Cod National Seashore and for current military members and their dependents, admission to the park is free. The Cape Cod National Seashore includes 40 miles of seashore along the Atlantic facing shore and includes over 43,000 acres which includes ponds, woods, beachfront, and lighthouses.

After driving in from Boston, we made our way to our hotel in Wellfleet. As you can imagine, summertime in Cape Cod is insanely busy. Hotels are all booked up, Airbnb's prices are ridiculous and traffic is at a standstill. Because of all of that, we booked our trip to the Cape from a Sunday to a Monday. I read horror stories about traffic leaving Cape Cod on Sundays and I wanted to avoid that at all cost.   


After dropping off our luggage in our room and changing into our swimsuits, we headed off to Marconi Beach. Marconi Beach is one of five Cape Cod National Seashore beaches located on the ocean side of the Cape. You get panoramic views of the blue Atlantic Ocean from the beach and behind you, dramatic sand dunes. Warning, do not try to climb the sand dunes. Aiden, Lyndon and my brother tried (they almost got to the top), but lifeguards came and told them to get down. Oops. From the parking lot, you will have to climb down quite a bit of stairs to the beach, so keep that in mind when you're carrying 4 beach chairs, a cooler, and a bag full of towels and beach toys. And what goes down, must come up (or something like that), so you will have to carry all of that back up as well. 

I guess growing up next to Galveston, Texas I'm not used to seeing clear blue oceans, so I was pleasantly surprised to see such pretty water as I was making my way down the stairs. But looks can be deceiving cause a. that water is insanely cold, and b. if you're trying to walk out into the ocean, your feet will be greeted with rocks! Oh and there's the whole great white sharks thing. While we were at the beach, we saw a herd of seals swimming in the water. They were adorable and swimming quite close to the shoreline. But where there's seals, there could be sharks. There are signs that warn people not to swim close to seals cause well, sharks eat seals. At the end of August (a few weeks after we were there), a great white shark took a bite out of a paddleboard just off Marconi Beach!

While the water might be too cold (and scary for some) to enjoy, you can still appreciate the gorgeous beach! I spent most of my time just walking up and down the beach taking pictures and enjoying the scenery. Seals were in the water next to me so how can you beat that?  

THE RUNDOWN:

Cape Cod National Seashore
99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet, Massachusetts 02667

Entrance Fee: $20/vehicle and $10/motorcycle (from June to September when lifeguards are on duty)
Entrance fee is waived for current military members and their dependents  
Beaches and trails are open round from 6 AM to midnight 


Don't forget to follow along on social media!
Bloglovin' | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

I am linking up with these link ups and blog hops!